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Saturday Jan. 31, 2015

Hope you'll join us, at Wells Hall. Singles, couples, first-timers, and experienced dancers; All are Welcome. No partner needed; Alcohol and smoke-free; Workshop for newcomers (see below.) We have a great time, dancers, caller, and musicians too! Sponsored by the Seattle Folklore Society.

AMY CARROLL will teach and call the dances. She describes herself simply, as generating fun for folks moving to music. But what is behind that is the breadth of her experience in several traditions.

Amy has called since 1987, and transitioned to "mainstream contras" at evening dances and festivals a number of years ago, without giving up her original base in schools (including the public schools, where she is a music and dance teacher), little community dances, weddings, and private parties. Right along with this she is a backup (rhythm) musician playing both contra dance piano and old-time guitar. In the contra dance community, combinations of experience like this are well acknowledged for building deep connections to the folks "out front" on the dance floor, and to the music/dance traditions (that's plural) that brought us here. I've attended week-long musicians camp w/ Amy; she soaks this stuff up however it comes to her.

Check out her recent past at . Realize that it includes multiple kinds of both caller and musician gigs. Same for her current schedule. Check out the pic on her home page; calling at NW Folklife out in front of some the most respected names in contra playing, including the dean of contra piano players Bob McQuillen, who passed away in Spring 2014. And realize that when Mac was in Seattle celebrating his 90th birthday at a house dance in his honor, Amy was right there on the piano bench beside him getting a lesson in how he made his iconic sound. Traditional calling and music are in good hands with Amy Carroll; if you show up to dance to her, you will be, too.

SMALL PLEASURES will be Vivian Williams on fiddle, Phil Katz on melodeons, and Phil Williams on guitar. We go back a long time playing for contra dances 40, 32, and 40 years respectively. Personally I (Phil K) can look out from the stage and recognize dancers I've been playing for since 1979 or 80. Gawrsh; this must be "tradition".

Our band plays "close to the dance and the dancers", choosing our tunes to match the dance chosen by the caller, and our styling to support the dancers as each dance evolves. It is a pleasure to play for our friends out on the dance floor. We call our contra tune repertoire Northwest and Yankee music. We bring together the Yankee contra repertoire of the Northeast, along with tunes from the pioneer Northwest. Many of the latter have been unearthed by Vivian, a musical historian and researcher, from tune books left behind my musicians in places like a gold mining camp near what is now McCall ID, and a religious colony some 40 miles SE of Portland. Folks keep showing Vivian historical manuscripts to re-edit and typeset, and we keep finding lost gems of tunes therein, suitable for today's dancing.

Lately Vivian has also been enthusiastically reintroducing tunes from our own contra musical history in Puget Sound; tunes from the Salmonberry (*) repertoire of the 1980's and early 90's, along with tunes she herself wrote for dancing in the 1970's and '80's. Vivian tends to "light up" when she plays her latest finds for dancers. Kewl (did I say that?); we'll try to bring more of the same spirit.

  • For most of you folks who maybe don't go back as far, Salmonberry was a band, with two "house" callers, that started the tradition of Saturday contra dances in Puget Sound, playing for a Second Saturday dance in Seattle from Dec. 1979 till March 1993. Pleasures of Home band and the Fifth Saturday Contradance were descendents (May 1993) of Salmonberry and that Second Saturday Seattle dance; Small Pleasures is an outgrowth (~~Spring 2000) of Pleasures of Home.

Specifics on the Event:

The Fifth Saturday Contra Dance will be held at Christ Church Wells Hall, 310 North K Street, Tacoma - directions below. It is well-known as one of the sweetest halls in Puget Sound. (Note: It's the same location as the Tacoma Contra Dance that's held on Third Saturdays.)

The dance will run from 8:00 - 11:00 pm. The cost is $9.00, with a $2.00 discount for 18 down and 65 up. As always, a 10% discount will be available to Seattle Folklore Society members who request it.

There will be a newcomers' intro-lesson at 7:30 pm. Contra dancing is "not rocket science", and by the third dance, anyone looking out over the crowd will likely be unable to tell who just learned that evening! Amy is the epitome of friendly and enthusiastic; just the kind of personality you'd want welcoming anyone and showing them something new. We are proud of the tradition of asking newcomers and visitors to dance, and looking after them on the dance floor. (Experienced dancers often bring friends they've been wanting to introduce to contra dancing, and help out by dancing in the mini-lesson.)

OK a few notices . . .

Please avoid wearing scented products (e.g. perfume, aftershave, cologne, scented hand lotion) to the Fifth Saturday Contra Dance. (Dancing, being aerobic, magnifies their scent, and also the effect of the solvents used therein!) Some dancers are hypersensitive or allergic to such products.

A word about children's attendance: It is fine for older children and teenagers who are comfortable interacting with adults on their own. However, it is not appropriate for small children unless they are on the sidelines supervised by adults at all times.

A caution on parking: The street right across from the hall has been posted as a "residents only" zone, so please don't park there - tickets have been given. There is plenty of parking on adjacent streets, and there are spots behind the church as well.

Directions to Wells Hall   

310 North "K" Street, Tacoma

From Seattle, "Eastside" of Lake Washington, or Des Moines

I-5 south to exit 133 (Tacoma City Center). Then take I-705 and the Schuster Parkway exit on the right (still called I-705). From there again stay right and take the Stadium Way (first) exit from Schuster Pkwy. At the top of the exit ramp, turn right. The street goes up hill. Follow it til it ends, then swing left onto North 1st. You pass Stadium Thriftway and a Chevrolet lot, and then merge into Division at a traffic light. Continue on Division, turn right onto North "K". Wells Hall is the second building on the left. Enter the dance through the church courtyard.

From Olympia

Take Interstate 5 to Tacoma, exit 132 (Route 16-Gig Harbor exit), which is quite a bit south of the center of Tacoma. Head for Route 16 (skipping the S 38th St exit); once in the curving exit ramp, keep your eyes peeled for the immediate first exit (1A); to Sprague Avenue. Once on S Sprague Ave at street level, you're heading north; pass lights at 19th and 12th (or 11th) until you come to multi-way light at 6th. Take the soft right into Division (not the sharp right into 6th). Follow Division to the light at North "K" Street and take a left. Wells Hall is the second building on the left.

From West of the Narrows Bridge

Take WA 16 east across the Narrows, and take exit 1B for Union Ave. Keep left at the fork; follow signs for University of Puget Sound. Turn left onto S Union Ave (at which point you'll be northbound.) Go about 1.5 mile and turn right into 6th Avenue. Follow 6th about a mile to a multi-way intersection; there take a soft left into Division Ave. Follow Division to North "K" Street, where you take a left. Wells Hall is the second building on the left.

For more information please contact:
Phil Katz - - 206 722 8228.
(you know what to do with the ZZZ)

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Last modified 01/09/15.